This week, another instance involving an NBA player and Twitter has completely stolen all the headlines in America. This common occurrence has led to a bigger question, and that is, what is the NBA going to do about its problem with social media? From team accounts engaging in Twitter wars to players feuding with fans, the league that is often praised for its societal adaptability and ability to engage with a younger audience now has a problem with the one thing that made them stand out amongst other professional sports leagues. This article will highlight some of the NBA’s glowing issues with social media and how they are affecting the league, its players, and its fans.
The Kevin Durant Situation
Anyone who follows basketball knows that Kevin Durant has been the talk of the NBA for the last year or so. Whether it be his new reputation of being a cupcake or bandwagon baller for leaving OKC for Golden State, his complete dominance in the 2017 NBA Finals, or his Twitter antics, KD has certainly landed on more than a few headlines. Earlier this week, a fan tweeted at Durant requesting “one legitimate reason for leaving OKC other than getting a championship.” Durant replied to the Tweet with an awkward third-person rant about his apparent dislike for the organization, his former coach Billy Donavon, and the lack of talent on the Thunder roster.
His actions left NBA analysts, fans, and personnel wondering if he meant to send his response from a different Twitter account, which would suggest that KD uses separate or fake accounts to defend his own honor in the third person. As ridiculous as that sounds, Durant actually acknowledged his mistake at a TechCrunch conference on Tuesday. So the question is, are superstar athletes becoming too sensitive or are disrespectful fans on social media proving to be too much for the celebrities they criticize? Regardless, Durant has now created even more enemies in Oklahoma City than he had prior to the incident.
One of the most entertaining, hilarious, and fun “problems” that the NBA has had with social media is the Twitter wars that have been occurring between teams’ official accounts. It started out as playful banter or smack-talk if you will, but it then escalated into personal attacks on players and officials. As the online battles continued to escalate, players began getting in on the action. For example, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Twitter account mocked Chandler Parsons for a terrible missed shot, and C.J. McCollum followed up by expressing that he was happy the Blazers did not sign Parsons during free agency. After similar occurrences continued to present themselves, the NBA decided to implement social media regulations for official team accounts.
Social media in sports has gotten to a point where athletes actually fear the repercussions of a random person’s posts. Following the DUI arrest of golf superstar Tiger Woods, athletes were asked about the situation, and a few pointed out the fact that players are afraid to order an Uber if they’ve been out drinking because they don’t trust the drivers, stating that the driver could easily take a photo of them in an inebriated state and spin it on social media in any direction they choose.
Needless to say, social media can be a blessing and a curse, but whether athletes embrace it or avoid it, one thing is for sure… they better learn to accept it because it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.